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Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
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Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax

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2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

Photo by Betty Truax

Photo by Betty Truax

Photo by Betty Truax

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
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Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
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Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

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News & Updates

Register now for the 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference in Front Royal on the weekend September 27-29. new

Chris Ludwig was driven by the "Spirit of Inquiry".

Don't miss all the news and information in the Spring, 2019 Sempervirens newsletter.

VNPS Member Catherine Ledec was named the Fairfax County 2018 Citizen of the Year.

Latest Facebook Posts

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

And just what kind of orchids may be blooming now, you ask? Well, Southern Slender Ladies'-tresses, (Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis), is a native orchid that has a wide distribution throughout Virginia. Commonly found in moist to dry fields, clearings, roadsides, and occasionally in mown lawns. It produces 2-4 basal leaves which usually wither before or at the time of flowering in summer or fall. It bears an inflorescence of up to 40 small white flowers arranged in a tight spiral. Distinguish it from other species of Spiranthes by the distinctive green spot on its labellum - the central petal at the base of an orchid flower.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Have you registered for our annual meeting yet? Some field trips are beginning to fill up. September 27-29 in Front Royal!

Our field trip to Jeremy's Run still has space and is described as follows: Enjoy the special beauty of Shenandoah National park with an active woodland hike. The trail starts at Skyline Drive and crisscrosses Jeremy’s Run, a tributary of the Shenandoah River, multiple times. The trail provides a particularly lovely setting and a nice selection of forest flora. This is an easy hike with only moderate elevation change, but hiking poles are advised for fording the creek on stepping stones. (Photo by Karen Hendershot)

For more information, and to register, see https://vnps.org/annual-meeting-2019-welcome/ .

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

"What are those beautiful berries?" some people ask. It may exhibit some lovely colored berries, but this vine is evil in our environment! Porcelain-berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) is an Asian species that was brought to North America in 1870 for use as an ornamental vine. It rapidly escaped cultivation into natural areas. According to the Blue Ridge Partnership for Invasive Species Management (PRISM), "[T]his escape artist operates by growing faster than almost anything else around it, except for kudzu, and perhaps Japanese honeysuckle, with which it likes to pal around. Porcelain-berry may grow 15 to 20 feet in a single growing season. It runs right over and shades out most desirable plants while competing with them for moisture and nutrients. It has a deep taproot and also sends out shallow roots far and wide. These spreading roots sprout suckers that then create a massive thicket."

Porcelain-berry prefers full to part sun in moist soil and can be found primarily in edge habitats and disturbed areas. For more information about this invasive vine and ways to combat it, check out this fact sheet from the Blue Ridge PRISM: http://blueridgeprism.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/06/Porcelain-berry-Factsheet-5-27-17-VDOF-w-Box-FINAL.pdf.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Often maligned for its DISobedience, lovely Obedient Plant, Physostegia virginiana, attracts many pollinators, including the state insect tiger swallowtail shown here. Called obedient because its individual flowers remain in place when bent, it can be disobedient in its tendency to spread rapidly in rich, moist garden soil. If you garden, keep this flower in check with benign neglect.

This member of the mint family is also known as False Dragonhead because of its snapdragon-like flowers. According to the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora, "two varieties [of Physostegia virginiana] are present in Virginia: var. praemorsa (Shinners) Cantino, clump-forming with short rhizomes and bracts usually present below the lowest flowers; and var. virginiana, colonial from long rhizomes and without floral bracts. Virginia herbarium specimens have generally not been sorted out as to variety, and individual distribution maps will not be available until a systematic study of herbarium material is completed. Some naturally occurring plants in Virginia may be intermediate between the vars., and escaped cultivars may represent inter-varietal hybrids.

Var. virginiana inhabits stream banks, seeps, riverside prairies and outcrops, disturbed alluvial soils, damp clearings, and ditches. It is Infrequent throughout but most frequent in the western part of the state. Var. praemorsa is known from dry, rocky woodlands and barrens over limestone and dolomite in the sw. mountains (Ridge and Valley province), where it is infrequent and local; its status is poorly known and it could occur elsewhere. In addition, this species is frequently cultivated, and a few of the records from weedier habitats (especially in the eastern part of the state) may represent escapes."

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

At our March workshop in Charlottesville, Rebecca Wilson, Regional Supervisor/Longleaf Pine Restoration Specialist/Eastern Fire Manager for the Natural Heritage Division of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, regaled us with information about restoration efforts for longleaf pines. She even introduced us to Pipa (short for Pinus palustris), a tall costumed mascot for the program. Read more about these important trees in this news article.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Former VNPS president Nicky Staunton reports that her chinquapin tree (Castanea pumila) is enjoying a good harvest right now. It is also known as the Allegheny chinquapin or dwarf chestnut.

According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a chinquapin is a "Tree or large, thicket-forming shrub to 30 ft. Single- or multi-trunked with horizontal lower branches, ascending in upper crown. Glossy, dark green, toothed leaves turn yellowish or purple in fall. Flower is a long, pencil-like, pale yellow spike and the fruit is a nut enclosed in a prickly, bur-like husk.

Captain John Smith published the first record of this nut in 1612: They [Native Americans] have a small fruit growing on little trees, husked like a Chestnut, but the fruit most like a very small acorne. This they call Checkinquamins, which they esteem a great daintie."

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Native Plant Conservation Campaign Logo 131x400

Save Plants, Save The Planet, Save Ourselves — Native Plants and Nature Based Solutions to Climate Change And Other Threats to Humanity

By VNPS Communications | July 25, 2019

By Emily B. Roberson and Doug Tallamy for the Native Plant Conservation Campaign Sea level rise, record breaking heat waves, floods, pollution, mass extinction — 2019 is frightening! What if there were one simple thing individuals, businesses and communities could do to address these problems? There is! Plant native plants! Native wildflowers and trees are… [Read More]

Chris Ludwig Retirement 20190304 Photo by Jason Bulluck

‘Spirit of Inquiry’ drove Chris Ludwig

By VNPS Communications | June 20, 2019

Chris Ludwig, botanist, zoologist, and general all-arounder with the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is off to greener pastures after 30 very busy years in the conservation community. And I do mean actual pastures right now since, as I write, Chris and his wife, Jolie, are staring out across the Serengeti as wildebeest swarm and flocks… [Read More]

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Jack-in-the-Pulpit Preaches Preservation

By VNPS Communications | May 17, 2019

Unlike many wildflowers that make a beautiful but brief spring appearance, the perennial Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) appears later in April and continues to add interest to moist woodlands until late fall. The hooded inflorescence which resembles a pulpit (a spathe) has a “Jack” (a spadix) standing in the center as if delivering a sermon. Perhaps… [Read More]

VNPS Member Catherine Ledec Named Fairfax County Citizen of the Year

By VNPS Communications | April 19, 2019

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a banquet where VNPS member Cathy Ledec was honored as Fairfax County’s 2018 Citizen of the Year. How gratifying it is to see someone recognized for efforts in preserving our natural environment! This prestigious award has been presented for the past 69 years by the Fairfax County Federation… [Read More]

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Illustration by Betty Gatewood

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

By VNPS Communications | February 6, 2019

New Jersey Tea is a low shrub, generally less than 1 m tall and often profusely branched. Stems are finely hairy, but may become smooth with age. Vegetative stems are perennial, but flowering stems persist for just a single year. Leaves are mostly 5 to 10 cm long; leaf shape varies from narrowly to widely… [Read More]

New and “Resurrected” Endemic Plants of Virginia’s Shale Region

By VNPS Communications | January 2, 2019

Back in 2014, John Townsend, VNPS Director at Large and Staff Botanist for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, wrote about A Tale of Shale: Virginia’s New Violet describing unique plant populations in north central Virginia. In this new report, John provides an update on the Viola and the discovery of two new potential taxa… [Read More]

Virginia Sneezeweed (Helenicum virginicum) by Sally Anderson

VNPS Grows Two Virginia Natural Area Preserves

By VNPS Communications | October 30, 2018

Mount Joy Pond Natural Area Preserve Update: January 24, 2019. Several VNPS members visited our newly-acquired site and the adjacent DCR property. Check out the photo album on our Facebook page! We can’t wait to see what it looks like in the spring. The Virginia Native Plant Society has become a landowner! On October 23, 2018… [Read More]

Nancy Vehrs and Jim Waggener

VNPS Members Honored by Prince William Conservation Alliance

By VNPS Communications | September 30, 2018

The Prince William Conservation Alliance recently honored two long-time members of the Virginia Native Plant Society, Nancy Vehrs and Jim Waggener, for their service, contributions, and advocacy for conservation. The Alliance works to explore, enjoy and protect our natural areas, and increase community involvement in stewardship opportunities. Nancy Vehrs received the 2018 Heart of Gold Award…. [Read More]

If You Plant It, They Will Come

By VNPS Communications | September 18, 2018

“If you plant it they will come,” to paraphrase a line from the iconic Kevin Costner film, “Field of Dreams.” That was the hope of John Magee,  former Horticulture Chair of the Virginia Native Plant Society. John’s firm, Magee Design, partnered with Ashburn Village in Loudoun County in an effort to revitalize Tippecanoe Lake, one of 8… [Read More]

A Visit to The Cedars Natural Area Preserve Appreciation Days

By VNPS Communications | May 20, 2018

I’m back from far southwest Virginia, and I have to share.  The Virginia Native Plant Society contributed to purchasing land to join together some of the disparate tracts of The Cedars Natural Area. In appreciation, Rob Evans, Natural Areas Protection Manager, Virginia Natural Heritage Program in the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), organized a… [Read More]